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December 5, 2011

Camrose Partnering to Develop Small Business Incubator

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From The Camrose Canadian; Written by Vince Burke

The City of Camrose is going to spruce up the Credco building, which is also slated for roof upgrades this winter, in an effort to create a small business incubator in Camrose.

The project is a partnership with Community Futures East Central Alberta and Alberta Finance and Enterprise; the latter two would run the rural Alberta business centre.

"Their organization felt that the city would be a good leader in making this work," said Ray Telford, Camrose economic development officer.

"One of the objectives with economic development is to work with businesses for business retention, business expansion, retraction and start up. This is one opportunity that is really going to help achieve this particular goal."

Darlene Curtis, Community Futures East Central Alberta manager said the program will turn the Credco building into the small business incubator the city wants and needs it to be.

"The pilot project is a three-year project. We will not be able to have it as a full-fledged incubator for the first year because we will need some seed money, but this will be a one stop business shop for people who want to get into business in your community," she said.

"Community Futures can’t be in Camrose every day, but this person will be. This person will operate normal hours over there to advise businesses how to start a new business, where to go for funding, be it development permits or that sort of thing.

"That will hopefully also fill up the incubator at the back (of the building) and fill up some space."

Telford said the aim would be to rent the bays available at the Credco building out to any start-up businesses in Camrose.

Curtis said another element added to the project in Camrose will be video conferencing, which they are bringing from the office in Viking.

"Right now the use of it in Viking is not great. Nobody is going to drive from Camrose or Killam or Forestburg to take our video conferencing session during lunch. So we are going to bring that over and make that available to the businesses in Camrose and they will have access to various areas of information," she said, adding business owners will also have access to an extensive business library through the project.

Telford said the business link video conferencing offers a lot of valuable information for business owners.

"The various topics are; starting your business, budgeting, marketing, branding, hiring, and they do everything to help people start businesses and everything to help people refresh operating their business," he said.

City council has authorized $12,000 for renovations, not including what has already been slated for the roof repair to the Credco building. The $12,000 will come from the Credco building budget or if needed from reserves.

The regional development branch of the Alberta government will provide $75,000 per year for three years to Community Futures East Central Alberta to fund one small business advisor. The funding will provide for a manager, phone and computer systems, content insurance, office supplies and support staff, if needed.

Curtis said there is indication from the provincial government that if the project is successful and there is money available, it may be extended beyond the three-year pilot stage.

Click here to read the original article.

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